NEW YORK—The Association of Schools & Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) has taken on a visible role in supporting DEI goals, pledging to do even more going forward. On its main website, ASCO and its member institutions state that they have embraced the concepts of diversity and multiculturalism in optometric education and in the profession. “Goals include developing an applicant pool, student community, faculty and profession that reflects the diversity of the U.S. population, while preparing future optometric clinicians for practicing in a multicultural and global society.”

ASCO is also offering a growing range of resources, including an Anti-Racism Reading and Resource List along with a host of Multicultural Resources.

With financial support from Walmart, ASCO has been implementing a multi-year project focusing on cultural competence. The goal is to assist the schools and colleges of optometry in the preparation of a diverse pool of optometric clinicians who will be clinically ready to address the vision and eyecare needs of a multicultural and global community.

ASCO has also committed to the development of a diverse applicant pool. In partnership with the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and the National Optometric Association, ASCO organized an attendance-breaking workshop on diversity in optometric education in concert with the 2020 AAO At Home Conference. And ASCO’s public education campaign, Optometry Gives Me Life, showcases diverse, exceptional professionals as exemplars to prospective students about how a life in optometry can be fulfilling for everyone.

At individual member colleges, the causes and issues behind the need for more DEI has grown as well. Several colleges, among them The State University of New York’s College of Optometry, New England College of Optometry, Salus University/Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Illinois College of Optometry and Southern College of Optometry reconfirmed their commitments to supporting DEI through their own programs, panels, appointments and task forces.